Recurring FasTrak errors frustrate express lane drivers: Roadshow

Q: Mr. Roadshow, you are my express lane hero.

Jimmy Wang, Alamo

A: I’m flattered, thank you, but please tell me why.

Like Mr. Roadshow’s Facebook page for more questions and answers about Bay Area roads, freeways and commuting.

Q: I read your articles about drivers being incorrectly charged on their FasTrak tolls. I drive on Interstate 680 and watch my statements carefully, as you recommended. I got a refund when an incorrect fee appeared, along with an admonishment: “No more next time.”

Really? That froze me. FasTrak people have known about this problem for years. This is outrageous. I am so frustrated. I always put the transponder on the driver’s dashboard side, but no luck. I recently acquired a new FlexTag, which was still no good. I was incorrectly charged again.

After our online chat, I got a refund and was instructed to stick the FlexTag on the windshield. Is it really necessary?

Jimmy Wang

A: Yes, but Jimmy’s woes continued.

Q: I had another problem. Even when I was not in the express lane, and was not displaying FlexTag, I got charged $1. I did not bother to dispute it. It was not worth the waste of time.

You are the voice and hero of express lane innocent victims. But, when will they fix the problem?

Jimmy Wang

A: It’s a work in progress. This seems to happen more often to folks like you who drive a Tesla and whose window coatings can block FasTrak readers. Check with the dealer and ask where to position the transponder.

Also, join me every Wednesday for an hourlong chat at from noon to 1 p.m.

Q: Driving on Interstate 680 between San Ramon and Alamo in the FasTrak Lane, I was going faster (75) than the speed limit, and there was a car tailgating me, flashing his lights, demanding that I move over so that he could pass. I stayed in my lane.

What does the Highway Patrol think about how I was driving? Am I required to exit the lane and let him pass?

John Baum, Pleasanton

A: No, but the CHP recommends you move into the next lane if you can do so safely. If not, stick with your current pace and ignore the pushy tailgater.

Q: My wife and I are going to see a matinee of “Hamilton” in San Francisco, and I was going to drive to BART in Millbrae and take it to the Civic Center. After reading all the negatives about BART, is there a safer way to get to the Orpheum Theatre?

David, San Jose

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A: Google the area and you’ll find numerous parking garages. But spots can fill up early, even for a matinee. Consider going early, perhaps grabbing lunch before the play. Maybe readers can offer parking suggestions.

Join Gary Richards for an hourlong chat at noon Wednesday at Look for Gary Richards at or contact him at

About the author

Mariella Frostrup

Mariella Frostrup

Mariella Frostrup has worked as a journalist for nearly a decade and has contributed to several large publications including the Yahoo News and the Oakland Tribune. As a founder and journalist, Mariella covers national and international developments.
You can contact her at

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